I received a Reckless Driving in Fairfax, VA for Speeding 85-90 mph in a 55 mph zone, what are the punishments?
First, let me clear up a big rumor. All over the internet, from either dishonest or ignorant attorneys, I see articles claiming that if you get convicted of Reckless Driving, you will get a criminal record. An experienced Reckless Driving Attorney Fairfax VA should explain that Reckless is considered a “non-reportable” offense. If you do not have a previous criminal record, and you get convicted, it will not go on your Criminal Record. I know what I am talking about on this. I served 12 years as the Chairman of the House Courts of Justice (“Judiciary”) Committee. This issue came up often in our meetings, and the State Police Officer in charge of entering criminal record information explained this over and over.
So, rest assured, if you don’t have a previous criminal record, you will not get one if you are convicted of this charge. (However, if you are convicted and get jail and have a previous criminal record, they will add the Reckless to it.) But just because it won’t go on your criminal record does NOT mean that you should take this charge lightly. If you were going 76 – 80 mph in a 55 mph zone, and had a good driving record, then you probably could go to court on your own and talk your way out of jail and a license suspension. And maybe you would get lucky, draw and easy Judge, and he would lower your charge. But if you are reading this, it is because you were going 85-90 in a 55 mph zone. Any experienced Reckless Driving Attorney Fairfax VA should warn you that going to Court on your own at speeds 85+, is very risky. While it is not written in the VA Code anywhere, the general rule of thumb for Judges on Reckless Driving by Speed cases is that even with good driving records, they seriously consider suspending driver’s licenses at speeds greater than 84, and will often give people a day in jail for every mph over 90! And if your Driving Record is not good, (e.g. lots of speedings, a previous Reckless or DUI), jail can be expected even at speeds lower than 90 mph.
When clients come to me with good Driving Records and speeding greater than 85, they often say, “I want this reduced to a traffic infraction.” Well that is what I want too, but as an honest Reckless Driving Attorney Fairfax VA, I cannot honestly accept a fee with that expectation. I will try my best to get it reduced, but honestly, at speeds greater than 84, keeping a person out of jail and keeping his/her drivers’ license it a great outcome. I know this is hard for people to believe. They often say, “It’s just speeding.” And while I agree that it should not be that big of a deal, that is not the reality in Fairfax. A while ago the Judges learned that more people die from speeding accidents than DUI. After they realized that, they started “laying the hammer down” on high speed Reckless Driving cases.
Reckless is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which carries with up to one year in jail, up to a $2500 fine and 6 months loss of license. People rarely get the max. In fact, I have been in Fairfax Courts for 30 years and have never seen anyone get the max. But with a Reckless Speeding 85-90 in a 55 mph zone, and a not so great driving record, I have seen people get 5+ days in jail and lose their license for a full 6 months. That is why you should definitely hire an experienced Reckless Driving Attorney Fairfax VA. First of all, without an attorney, you cannot negotiate with the Prosecutor to hopefully keep you out of jail and keep you driving. In Fairfax, Prosecutors only talk to other attorneys. If you go on your own, you will only be able to address the Judge. Secondly, experienced Reckless Driving attorneys know how to put their clients in the best position to get a charge reduced, or keep him/her out of jail and in their car. First, attorneys look to see if the case can be won. If it can’t, then they work to limit punishment. For my clients, I prescribe certain in-person safe driving courses that I know Fairfax Prosecutors and Judges like. Furthermore, if we cannot get an acceptable Plea Agreement from the Prosecutor, then I prepare my clients for a presentation to the Judge. Many Judges will give better outcomes than Prosecutors, but only if the defendant makes a proper and convincing presentation. Many people try to explain themselves without an attorney’s help. I have heard them tell the Judge “my car can’t go that fast” or “I was just keeping up with traffic.” Both of these are so bad, and so often heard, they are now subject of jokes amongst Prosecutors and Judges. An experienced Reckless Driving Attorney Fairfax VA will know which explanations and mitigation defenses are most effective.
I would be honored to assist you. I grew up in Fairfax, served as a District Court Prosecutor in Fairfax, have worked in Fairfax Courts for 30 years, served a portion of Fairfax County in the State Legislature for 24 years, and am a 5 time Washingtonian and NOVA Magazine Top Attorney.